Have cravings? Or cravings have you..?

Tough love, I know, and we may have been there at some point, whether it’s the mid afternoon ‘pick me up’, end of the day decision fatigue where we just don’t give two hoots anymore, stress eating, eating because we’re bored, or someone orders something and we haven’t had that in forever.. And I’m sure there’s more scripts running through our heads (I already thought of a few more because I’ve been there too). We’re also brilliant and know to some extent what we’re doing, but change and willpower take energy, strategy, a plan, and then we may feel guilty. Good news- yes, we do need to take responsibility, but there’s ways of optimizing our physiology to tip the odds in our favor.

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3 lifestyle habits to jumpstart your metabolism

In other words, age and genetics to some extent play a role in our metabolism, but it doesn’t mean it has to be an excuse of why we can’t lose weight! It just means we may need to work a little harder in the meantime to change old habits that got us to this place, and truly understand/listen to how our body works. And truth be told… everyone is different.

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Why weight tends to go right to our abdomen and what to do

Weight is so much more than calories in/calories out- it plays a role, but that in conjunction with potentially may other things going on, can seem like an uphill battle. And it kind of is. Chances are you didn’t just wake up one morning however many pounds heavier, but it was over a period of time where you did wake up one morning, and your clothes didn’t fit right, you felt lethargic/not good, thought the scale was broken or that higher number is actually muscle (if you’re working out- oh I’ve been there too!), or wondered why it could went to your abdomen instead of _______-> fill in the blank with desired body part.

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Does your health routine reflect Toyota or Rolls Royce status?

“It takes about 13 hours to build a Toyota, and 6 months to build a Rolls Royce.” Just like in health, a few pieces of kale won’t cure everything, and a day at the gym won't turn you into a body builder (both are good starts). We’ve been conditioned that we can ‘take a pill for ____’ (Toyota level), except we’re not going out-supplement or out-medicate a less than optimal lifestyle. I’ve tried, my patients have tried (before they saw me), and people have told me they’ve tried. And if it works, it works for a certain amount of time that quells the concern/symptom, but then it comes back, or something else appears/returns, or a dose has to be readjusted- yet if we channel our inner child and ask ‘why is this happening’, do we begin to understand the our complexities and nourish the motivation it takes to become the Rolls Royce of health.

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Must-have markers on your labs

If you feel like you’re getting shuttled through a system, or that you’re being told you’re fine when you feel like something is off, or wondering if you’re fine why you’re on medication or being recommended supplements, or - and last one - nothing seems to be getting better (i.e. can’t lose weight, not sleeping right). Maybe you got a thorough work-up, or basic yearly bloodwork, and then all the numbers still come back in range. Or they’re slightly off but not enough to warrant medication, but let’s watch and wait. You’re not alone.. and this is way way more common than it should be.

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What birth control, hormone replacement, and testosterone replacement all have in common

Logically, if something is low, like oil in a car, just fill it up to replace it. If only the body was that simple.. we know it’s not, but we may not always grasp its complexities as that’s why whenever a medication or supplement is offered to solely replace, other problems still occur. The endocrine system is comprised of at least 7 different organs + fat cells (yes, our fat cells secrete hormones and signals too) with at least 3 different messages that go to certain organs. That’s at least 21 conversations happening at any given time, and sometimes those conversations need the attention of other structures like our heart, bones, and gut, for example, to optimize function. However, those conversations can get muddled when there’s not enough nutrients to make those signals, too much stress, poor sleep, poor lifestyle, and a sedentary lifestyle. Symptoms occur when there’s something like a rock concert of dis-ease going on inside our body and those conversations have to get really loud.

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What extra weight is trying to tell you

Weight is a symptom- not a disease, an imperfection, something to be shamed, or beat yourself up about. I can relate because in the middle of medical school I gained 20 pounds in 4 months, and just told myself I was bloated and the clothes shrank in the drier. Amazing how defense mechanisms kick in.. In any case, what really happened was that there were many more concerns going on that had to be healed, because clearly this did not happen overnight, but through a culmination of many processes that went unnoticed until well, they were.

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Why hypothyroid type symptoms may not completely resolve with medication

Synthroid, otherwise knows as it’s generic name Levothyroxine, is commonly given when people have underactive thyroid (hypothyroid), or Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune hypothyroid (antibodies disrupting thyroid function). It replaces T4, a hormone produced by our thyroid gland in the inactive version, where then predominantly the liver, to a lesser extent the gut, and remainder of the body converts it to the active form, T3. T4’s half life is about 5-7 days, taking longer to break down, versus T3’s half life of about 1 day- thyroid is metabolism, so given a short-term dose can ramp up our whole system (aka T3), hence why we’re commonly given T4. However, if we’re stressed, the body converts T4 to a hormone called reverse T3 (rT3), which is also inactive.

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What's your 'check engine' light?

The check engine light in a car is one of the worst lights to come on in the car because it's so vague. It can mean literally anything. Super comforting too when thinking about all the different parts in the car..-> sarcsam. So we may google or post on facebook or ask friends (kind of sounds like that show, 'Who wants to be a millionaire') to see if anyone has experienced the same thing and what we should do. Maybe we find the answer and the light goes off- but what if it comes back on again. And even though it went off, why was it there in the first place, aka do we really know our car well enough to know why, and if this will happen again? At this point you may be on the way to the mechanic so they can give you the full work-up, diagnosis, and prognosis. 

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How high cholesterol may be a sign of imbalanced hormones

Cholesterol is the building block of hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol (stress hormone), and aldosterone (responsible for our salt/water balance). Cholesterol is comprised of a number of particles that each serve a function such as:
-LDL ('bad' cholesterol; but not really bad because it delivers cholesterol to cells. The real question is 'what predisposes it to oxidizing in a way that causes damage'- more on that later).
-HDL ('good' cholesterol; transports cholesterol molecules to liver to get metabolized. Yet over 75 is not so good as elevated levels can be an inflammatory marker).
-Triglycerides (a marker of sugar/carbohydrate intake, as it's energy for later use). 
There are a few more cholesterol markers, but these are the main ones. 

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Are you working with or against your body type?

We know we're different than the next person, yet there's so much advice that seems generic that it's can be difficult to differentiate what's right for you, and can even include some trial and error (hopefully not much of the latter). Just like the blood type diet offers insight on eating right for our type, we also have a body type that helps guide our nutritional intake and fitness motivation. Especially when it comes to weight, it's an uphill battle as our fat cells are their own endocrine organ that tend to mess with our already probably somewhat off balanced hormones. 

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Lose weight & detox all at the same time with this class of veggies

Cruciferous vegetables.. some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet are in the form of broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, collards, watercress, brussels sprouts and arugula. They are incredibly high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and can help us lose weight, detox, and protect us against cancer and heart disease-related conditions. They are best cooked in coconut oil, or sauteed in olive oil, or other healthy fats, as they also have a high content of fat-soluble nutrients that are best absorbed when cooked in fats. 

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Sitting is not quite the new smoking, but could throw off your hormones

As humans we are meant to move, live, love, laugh, and enjoy life- yet as one of the most developed species, we also have a wide range of emotions (thank you Mercury in retrograde for emphasizing these- it's when communication and technology can go wonky) that can also make us appreciate those joyful moments. And to hone in on the first characteristic, movement is incredibly important to our health, allowing optimal blood flow (carries oxygen for additional energy), lymphatic movement, and nutrients to circulate to our cells, improving digestion, detoxification, metabolism, sleep, and memory/thought processes. 

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Weight loss the old fashioned way -not a pill form

Diet and exercise... I know, exactly what you wanted to hear (please note sarcasm), or maybe you actually did because you've already made some changes and want confirmation you're on the right path. And the more you eat your veggies and move your body, many other health concerns may improve too, which doesn't always happen with a weight loss supplement. Unfortunately, some of these supplements land people in the Emergency Room, mess with their thyroid in the long-term (controls weight, metabolism), leave us not feeling good after the course usually due to poor adrenal function (constant revving up of our systems leads to a crash), and can cause serious, sometimes deadly, cardiac issues like heart attack or stroke.

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Can't fall or stay asleep? Put down the melatonin and no one gets hurt.. seriously.

Sleep is so important. As in we have like 10+ hormones that regenerate while we sleep, and that's at certain times of night assuming we go through different stages of sleep. Unfortunately there are a number of medications like various psych meds, cold medicines and decongestants (ironic because sleep is imperative when we're sick), statins, steroids, antihistamines, and blood pressure medications that can cause vivid dreams, and disrupt sleep at any given time. Melatonin can be ok for a short period of time, except in some people it contributes to insomnia, and overall can limit our own production as melatonin is a hormone (like how birth control, hormone replacement, and testosterone can all eventually tell our body 'you're good, you don't need to make this- I got this').

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Do you really know where your sugar is from?

It's really easy to demonize sugar- it's everywhere, the cause of so many health issues, and a good part of the reason why we just don't feel good, which then you know there are processes gone awry in our body...sugar anyone for that endorphin boost to make this seem less depressing?? Common sources of sugar include juices, dessert, refined carbohydrates (e.g. white flour), candy, dried fruit (if anything eat the real fruit because it's higher fiber content helps stop the quick sugar rush/crash), soda, energy drinks, flavored foods, and alcohol (gets metabolized immediately to sugar). Less obvious sources include protein bars/meal replacements/granola bars, and restaurant foods (e.g. sauces, dressings). However, sugar imbalances, including those values seen on your bloodwork like triglycerides, hgbA1c, and glucose, aren't always because of a sugar laden diet. 

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Prolactin- the missing piece of bloodwork for hormonal assessment

Prolactin is a hormone measured in blood that's commonly associated with a new mom's ability to breastfeed post childbirth, as well as being able to nurture, and sex drive. It's released by the anterior pituitary by a signal from our hypothalamus (both located in the brain) to target breast tissue for lactation, and serves to modulate our immune system, metabolism, reproductive systems, and overall health for both men and women. Prolactin increases with estrogen, blood sugar issues, under active thyroid hormone, stress, pregnancy, and medications (e.g. opiates, anti-hypertensives, psychotropics, H2 blockers), and decreases with dopamine. 

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Craving sugar/carbs? It's not you (well sort of..), it's your hormones

Even with all scientists, doctors, health professionals, and Dr. Google know about the human body, we are learning more and more each day in how we are so interconnected. Sugar cravings go beyond a cold turkey 'stop eating sugar', because sugar is like a drug it can make us feel happy and loved, which then prompts, are we happy and loved in our own lives? Food is commonly known to reward us by reducing stress and improving mood- and we'll consume more until it does. It can also indicate imbalanced sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, too much stress, crappy sleep, nutrient deficiency, and/or flat out insulin resistance (we're eating sugar but our body is not taking it into our cells to use, so in turn we eat more). 

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What to do when you, or someone you know, just don't feel right in their own body

In lieu of recent celebrity deaths Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, this post comes with a heavy heart. Unfortunately we won't know what was really going on in their minds as they chose a path like many others before them, famous or not famous, yet the impact to those close to them is still the same. Hurt, frustration, confusion, wished we could have done more, wondered what we could have done, feeling helpless, etc. and many more feelings can arise during these times. Is there someone to blame? Or something? Or rather what was that final breaking point?

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5 signs you wear your hormones on your skin

The skin is the largest organ, protecting us whatever is going on in the outside world, acting as a barrier for our muscles, bones, and organs. It's also said that skin is a reflection of what's going on inside of us, such as acne as a sign of imbalanced hormones, and dry skin potentially a sign of under active thyroid. Skin concerns can also be from a food intolerance, medications, imbalanced gut bacteria, detoxification/liver issues, blood sugar issues, or new face/beauty product, or a product you've been using forever that has so many chemicals that it's only just now that it's turning you into an itchy/scratchy/blotchy mess. Or it could be a combination of everything, which can make treatment daunting. 

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